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Hi-Fi Plus Magazine --  Hi-Fi+

December 2023


hi-fi+'s 2023 Product Awards
We highlight the finest products we've reviewed during 2023.
Editorial By Alan Sircom


Hi-Fi+ December 2023


  Our annual Awards issue is also the last issue of the year. So it's hard to avoid trying to take stock of the events of that year and make some predictions for the year ahead.

Looking at those dozens upon dozens of pages of awards on our 'flat plan' (the colour-coded map of all the pages in a magazine) points to one overarching conclusion about the audio world; we are living in a golden age; right here, right now!

That golden age might not be reflected in sales figures (the audio market of half a century or more ago was shifting a lot more boxes than today), but in terms of performance and scope, our forefathers would be shocked at the near-limitless potential for high-performance sound today.

Of course, we have our filters and biases. You don't see too many battery-powered portable speakers on our pages; in no small part as a reflection of what our enthusiast readers want to read. But, in all honesty, many of them do a remarkably good job. I don't look that good in a leotard, but that huge boom-box in a dance class of 40 years ago is entirely outclassed by something smaller than a large coffee cup today.

When it comes to the music played on that coffee cup or a full-sized home system once again our options are nothing short of wonderful. We have wireless, always-on access to the entire musical canon at our fingertips, and those of us signed up to high-resolution music services can receive quantity and quality. At the turn of the century, that music was limited in scope and quality. Even five years before that, such scope was unthinkable. Anyone today has the kind of musical library that would make a Hapsburg prince weep with jealousy!


Hi-Fi+ December 2023


The other big improvement is in the range of audio. Harking back to that singing coffee cup, you can get good music for less than the cost of an evening meal for two. And at the other end, you can buy a system for the cost of an evening meal for two... cooked by a Michelin-starred chef that you hired to work on your own yacht. While the teeth-gnashers will fulminate about the latest ultra-fi product, or bemoan that their pet brand has raised its prices beyond their limits, there is still something for everyone. Whether you are on the first step of that journey or making an ascent on the summit, audio has broad enough shoulders to accommodate you.

There is an argument to say there is too much audio about today. Each year, hundreds of new audio brands try to claw their way to surviving in a very full, very competitive market. Many of them will fail in just a few years. Some will succeed, however. A few will even go on to be the next superstar brands for the next generation of audiophile. And let's not kid ourselves; audio isn't just a hobby for Baby Boomers anymore!



Alan Sircom, Editor hi-fi+




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